Saturday, August 16, 2014

Deconstructed Falafel Salad

I love falafel.  I've made my own baked version numerous times over the last few years.  What's not to like?  Savory little patties of chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, garlic, tahini and lemon juice, baked till they're crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, served inside pitas with plenty of tzatziki.... mmmmm!  So I was very interested when one of the blogs I follow posted a recipe for a deconstructed falafel salad.  The ingredients are the same, but there are no patties, no baking or frying (except to make your own pita chips!), and no sandwich.  All the falafel makings get tossed together with a delicious dressing, and voila: a healthy, protein-packed salad, perfect for a June evening in your new house with your at-the-time almost-husband.  Yeah, this was another meal eaten on the deck, table-less :)

In addition to homemade pita chips and chickpeas, this salad adds to the party some tomatoes and cucumbers, which are excellent additions.  The dressing is made from lemon juice, olive oil and tahini, spiced with cumin and coriander.  And do not think you can leave out the fresh herbs: scallions, parsley, cilantro, and mint.  Are you getting hungry just hearing about these ingredients?

The awesome thing is, this is a salad.  It's so quick to make.  You just have to bake your pita chips (which by the way I ate way too many of before I added them to the salad) and then throw everything else together.  My one warning is that this salad doesn't keep very well if you add the pita chips right to the bowl as the recipe suggests.  Maybe next time, I will let people add their own chips and keep them separate; otherwise they get super mushy and not so appetizing in the refrigerator.  It can be made ahead - just leave out the chips!


deconstructed falafel salad
from Pink Parsley

3 whole wheat pita pockets (each 6 - 8 inches in diameter)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium lemons
3 tablespoons tahini
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups halved or quartered grape tomatoes
1 large english cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 scallions
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped


1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut each pita into 2 rounds.  Using 2 tablespoons total of the oil, lightly brush the pita rounds with the olive oil.  Cut each round into 8 wedges, and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Sprinkle very lightly with salt.  Bake the pita triangles for about 8 minutes, or until they are lightly crisped and beginning to brown.  Allow to cool at least 5 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, juice the lemons into a large bowl (you need about 1/3 cup of juice).  Add the tahini, the remaining tablespoon of oil, the cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and cayenne if using.  Whisk well to combine.

3)  To the bowl, add the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, cilantro, mint, and parsley.  Add the pita chips to the bowl and gently toss to combine everything with the dressing.  Serve immediately.

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